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Sixth Phase Poll: Didi’s High Stake Battle Against BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari For Eight Seats

In the sixth phase of Lok Sabha polls on May 25, West Bengal is headed for a dramatic showdown in eight seats — Bankura, Jhargram, Purulia, Bishnupur, Medinipur, Tamluk, Kanthi and Ghatal. Significantly, five of these seats are held by BJP and the remaining three — Tamluk, Kanthi and Ghatal are with ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC). However, Kanthi and Tamluk were held by Opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari’s father Sisir Adhikari and his younger brother Dibyendu Adhikari who have also moved from TMC to BJP. While BJP has fielded Soumendu Adhikari, another brother of Suvendu from Kanthi, the saffron camp has given a surprise ticket to retired judge Abhijit Ganguly. Ganguly has been the fiercest critic of Didi who gave ruling against the TMC government in the Teacher’s Recruitment Scam. Both Kanthi and Tamluk have special attention as former being the hometown of Adhikaris and Tamluk also has Nandigram Assembly segment which is held by the Opposition leader. It may be recalled that Didi was defeated by her former ally Suvendu in the 2021 Assembly election at the Nandigram seat. Meanwhile, BJP is up for Ghatal seat, where TMC’s star candidate and incumbent MP Dev Dipak Adhikari is contesting against BJP’s MLA Hiranmoy Chatterjee. There was a war of words when Adhikari accused Dev of taking money and expensive gifts from a relative of a cattle smuggling accused. Dev, however, denied these allegations stating that he had only taken a loan from a firm for his film production in 2022, which he has repaid, and denied receiving any gifts from third parties. It is clear that this penultimate phase of polling is a matter of survival for Didi while for Suvendu it is all eight wins.